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Bear finds the man slumped outside the gates, drooling on himself, staring out with eyes glazed with shock at a world that makes no sense whatsoever to him. The guard is amusing himself by asking the near-catatonic man for answers for his crossword; "'ere, wot's a six-letter word for "moron", issit Idiyot?"

Bear does not know the answer to the question; he was never very good at spelling, back in school or now, but he does recognize the edge of mockery in the tone of the man's voice and it makes something deep and slow inside of him begin to growl. He shambles over, bends down and stares the guard right in the eye.

Bear is a very large man. But the guard has been doing this a long time. "Wot're you starin' at, Rook," he sneers, unaffected by the sheer size of said Rookie. Rookies, after all, know nothing. Rookies have seen nothing. Rookies are nothing, and if the guard stopped to be scared of every single screeching maniac or feel sorry for every single shock-stricken slumper, he would never get anything done. Either they figure it out and learn to survive, or they don't, and it makes no never-mind to him, that's his philosophy.

But Bear is, in addition to his size, an unnervingly quiet man, and as the seconds turn into minutes, the guard begins to do what anyone does when faced with a giant staring at you with heavy eyes that show no emotion whatsoever. Silent staring is a good equalizer, something Bear himself has never realized. He is not the sort to think too hard on these things; he only knows that when the guard descends into uncomfortable babbling in an attempt to fill the silence, that this is the correct response and it means Bear has done his job and can stop staring now.

It's what he used to do, Back Before. But that's a story for another time.

Bear ignores the noises of the guard, unimportant now that the man is no longer using those words, Moron, Idiot. He bends to see if the drooling man has moved, the mountain trying to be a molehill.

He stares for a long time, but it doesn't work , not this time, not with this man. And so Bear does something unexpected; he picks the man up, just like he was a baby, he scoops him up and holds him close and walks as though the weight is nothing right through the gates and into NewHome.

The guard shouts something after them, something about not getting their names, something about not being allowed to do that, but Bear has never understood things like rules or not-being-alloweds and so he just walks on, the catatonic man drooling onto his arm, and that is how the Island first discovers them, the two men who will come to be known as the Bear and Slim Pickens.

~.~.~

I don't even want to hear about this shit they've been telling you, this catatonic shit. Let me set you straight, there was never a Pickens kid in his life was ever catatonic. Shock? Drool? Bullshit. There was no shock, there was no drooling. Pickens don't go into shock just because of some stinking Island. We're born to survive, us, we're born to survive and not take any shit from anybody. What my mother would say to you if she heard this shit..

You get that smirk right off your face, you hear me? My mother could bench-press you, tentacles and all. Stinking mutant thinking he's better than me because I love my mother. You even have a mother, ya jerk? Were you even born, or did you just hatch?

Bear, back down away from the kid, he's just a jerk, he didn't mean nothing by it. C'mon, man, sit back down again, he was just shooting off his mouth. Okay, he doesn't have a mouth, he was shooting off his whatever-that-damn-thing-is, does it matter? Do you really want to pick at my what're they called? C'mon, what's the word, what's the..semantics! Siddown, Bear, willya?

Lemme tell the story.

So yeah, don't be listening to no jerk telling you I was catatonic. Never was a Pickens ever who would go into shock over something like this place, no way, no how. What happened was, I was resting my eyes. You ever been banged upside the head and thrown headfirst out of a plane?..oh, yeah, you have. Well, what do you know, when was the last time you were human, anyway? Took four big guys, big guys like Bear here to do it. You don't believe me? Well who cares what you think? Four big guys, and I let them have it, let me tell you! You think I was bad, you shoulda seen them! They won't be picking on no Pickens again anytime soon, I can tell you that! And then one of them got in a cheap shot, he was lucky, really, and the next thing I know I was out there and some lady was talking crap, and I was tired, okay? Tired from the fight with those four big guys and getting whomped one or okay, maybe three times, and thrown out of a goddamn plane with never a by-your-leave.

And I don't mind telling you, that lady, she reminded me of my mother. Scary, you know? Those eyes.

A-ny-way. I was tired, so I was resting my eyes. I don't know nothing about no guard calling me names, but let me tell you, if I'd been, you know, not resting my eyes, I would have shown that guy who was boss, don't you forget it! And the next thing I know, there's great big mountain of a guy, leaning over me, trying to get me to eat soup. Where'd you even get the soup, Bear, you didn't even have any money and it's not like you'd know how to use it..what do you mean, doesn't matter? Where'd you..aw, you don't remember. Don't mind Bear, fellows, he's a few packs short of a carton of cigarettes, you know? Doesn't always remember where he's been or what he's been doing.

But don't you call him stupid. He's not stupid, you hear me? Might be quiet, but this guy right here, he's smarter than he lets on. And don't let me hear you saying otherwise.

So anyway, it didn't take no rocket scientist to figure out that this guy, he needs someone, you know? He needs someone to tell him when to eat and when it's better to go right instead of left. And me, I'm the brains of any operation they got going back home, so I figured, well, I could be the brains of this one, too. So I said to him, you and me, pal, we're in this crap together, and Bear, you know he doesn't say much, but I could tell by the way he was just sitting there, staring at me, I could tell he wanted me along.

Sometimes you can tell.

So that's how Bear and me met, boys, oh sorry. Boys and girls, I'm sorry, what's that? You're no girl?

Fine. You want me to be specific? You're picking on my semantics again? Fine. Boys, robots, cat-thing, LADY, weird-thing-with-tentacles, little guy trying to steal from me, that's right, can't pull one over on me, you weird little thing, I don't miss a trick, me, and can someone get us a drink over here? Bear, you wanna drink?

Let's get some drinks.

~.~.~.~.~

 
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